The Seance: Book summary and reviews of The Seance by John Harwood

The Seance

by John Harwood

The Seance by John Harwood X
The Seance by John Harwood
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2009
    350 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

A gothic thriller set in Victorian England.

Constance Langton grows up in a household marked by death, her father distant, her mother in perpetual mourning for Constance’s sister, the child she lost. Desperate to coax her mother back to health, Constance takes her to a séance: perhaps she will find comfort from beyond the grave. But the meeting has tragic consequences. Constance is left alone, her only legacy a mysterious bequest that will blight her life.

So begins The Séance, John Harwood’s brilliant second novel, a gripping, dark mystery set in late-Victorian England.

It is a world of apparitions, of disappearances and unnatural phenomena, of betrayal and blackmail and black-hearted villains—and murder. For Constance’s bequest comes in two parts: a house and a mystery. Years before, a family disappeared at Wraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside with a sinister reputation.Now the Hall belongs to Constance. And she must descend into the darkness at the heart of the Wraxford Mystery to find the truth, even at the cost of her life.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Harwood invokes the hoariest clichés .... and effortlessly makes them his own. The novel's voice, too, is superbly crafted, accurate for the period but never self-consciously antique." - Publishers Weekly.

"Harwood, who has been compared to Wilkie Collins, has crafted a fast-paced ghost story with an old-fashioned touch. Recommended for all public libraries." - Library Journal.

"Readers who enjoy this sort of thing will devour The Seance in a sitting." - The Times (London).

"[G]oth fans will find their cups running over." - The Telegraph (UK).

"In the hands of a lesser writer, these elements might have seemed stagey and trite. But Harwood reinvests them with novelty and makes them genuinely spooky. In the end, The Seance reminds us that the real horrors lurk within the reader's mind." - The Independent (UK).

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Author Information

John Harwood

John Harwood is the author of The Ghost Writer, which won the 2004 International Horror Guild Award for Best First Novel. A professor of English for twenty-five years, Harwood also wrote a biography of Olivia Shakespeare, an Edwardian novelist and the lover of W. B. Yeats; she became Harwood's inspiration for Viola Hatherley, the central presence in The Ghost Writer.

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